An exquisite edifice in Mangalore

An exquisite edifice in Mangalore

Rosario Cathedral, Mangalore is said to have been first established as a small church by Franciscans in the early 16th century. In the post Tipu Sultan era (after 1799), the Rosario Church came into being, at this location in 1813 and went through gradual expansions.

The church was declared a Cathedral in 1850. Further beautification of the building was commenced in 1910 by Jesuit priest Henry Buzzoni while he was the Vicar and its formal dedication was in 1915, while Bishop Paul Perini was the Bishop of Mangalore (1910-28). The work of the Jesuit brother Divo of Bombay, an architect continued for a few years even after it’s opening. The complex structure is made up of a series of matching arches – more than 48 major arches including 12 central arches with over a fifty sub-arches. The side verandah periphery has about 45 smaller arches.

Architectural marvelThe galleries above the main entrance and side wings were of high utility in the past for solemnity and baptistry. Unfortunately the Bishop’s throne is not a permanent fixture as it used to be, even though the cathedral is the seat of the Bishop.

The dome of this Cathedral is a significantly unique structure with heavy metal ribs, minor metal reinforcements, small red bricks and mortar, water-proofed with local methods. The dome virtually replicates that of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican but in a smaller size. In the olden days, it was clearly visible to approaching ships out at sea and a welcome land mark of Mangalore. The construction of such a large, stable and beautiful structure even before sophisticated construction equipment existed is seen as a marvel.

This parish is particularly known for the roots here of Apostolic Carmel nuns (AC) and Ursuline Franciscan nuns (UFS). The memory of a Portuguese fort, where the European factories and the first churches would have been, still lives on about a mile to the South of Rosario called ‘haleye kote’ and ‘batthery garden’ opposite the confluence of the rivers Nethravathi, Gurpur and the Arabian Sea, which has influenced the Tulu dialect name of ‘Kudla’ and ‘Kodial’ in Konkani still in use for Mangalore.

The inscription seen above the main entrance pillars and portico reads “1568 – Queen of the Rosary Bless India – 1915”. This may be interpreted as the first ever Rosario church of the area was established in 1568 and the present visible edifice was dedicated in 1915 AD, now a century. Further, it reminds, it is now 445 years since 1568 when the first Rosario church was established in the vicinity.

The Roman Catholic faith in Kanara (Dakshina Kannada) grew from emigrant Konkanis of ‘Saraswat’ origins from Goa. Even at present the official language of this diocese is Konkani. Mangalore became an independent diocese on January 25, 1887 and in 2012 it made way for Udupi diocese.

Rosario area since old times, houses many government, corporate, commercial and trading establishments and now it is ready to take on greater development. 

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